Saturday, December 3, 2011

Top Tables Regional

Viva Italia

Executive summary by Darmansjah

A trio of new hotel restaurants takes Italian cooking to new heights-in one case, quite literaly, by Leisa Tyler / David Tse.

Il Cielo, The Hilton Singapore stepped into the gatronomic limelight in 2010 when the acclaimed restaurant Iggy’s moved into a space on the hotel’s third floor. In February this year, it raised the bar even further with the opening of IlCielo, set next to a rooftop swimming to serve only seasonal and organic ingredients, including sustainabley fished seafood and hormone-free meats. There are springy hommade pastas made from khorasan wheat-an ancient grain believed to have originated in Egypt-spelt,and buckwheat; and delicate herbcrusted ocean trout that has been flsh-baked in a pizza oven on a piede of olive wood. But the real star of the show here is the gorgeous burrat, a supple mozzarella di bufala from Naples that is kneaded and filled with herb-infused cream at your table. (24/F, Hilaton Hotel Singapore, 581 Orchard Rd; 65/6730-3395).

Jojo’s, while there’s no shortage of excellent Italian restaurants in Bangkok, things just got even better with the opening of Jojo’s at the new St. Regis Hotel. The smart 70-seat space pairs two Italian dining concecpts; a bar-cum-trattoria on one side, and on the other; anelegant ristorante. The food from both is simple and unfussy, allowing the first-class ingredients to do the talking. The antipasti platter includes delicate salami from Tuscany with lashings of a smoky, 46-month-cured prosciutto from Parma. Move onto the fettuccine Alfredo-thick ribbons of past and peas that have been tossed in the hollow of a sharp Castelmagno cheese, of which only 6,000 blocks are produced a year-then top it off with a slice of hazelnut-tinged. Piedmont chocolate or a choice of rare, artisanan cheeses like cave-aged Gorgonzola. (St.Regis Hotel Bangkok, 159 Ratchadamri Rd; 66-2/207-7777).

Tosca, Though the exuberant desgin of the Ritz-Charlton Hongkong’s 102nd-floor Italian restaurant-think chrome chandeliers and glass fountains-fails to outshine the double-height dinning room’s view over Victoria Harbour, the food is a standout. Running the busy open kitachen is chef Vittorio Lucariello, who hails from Aversa, a town near Naples. Here, he focuses on the sunny flavors of southern Italian cuisine in dishes like paccheri with scampi and anchovy sauce, scialatiellie (thick Neapolitan spaghetti) with wild clams, and pistachio-crusted lamb chop baked on a stone and served with Jerusalem artichoke puree. There’s been stiff competition for the tables here since Tosca’s March debut, so book well in advance. (102/F,Ritz-Carlton HongKong, 1 Austin Rd.West,Kowloon;852/2263-2203)

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